tv Q A CSPAN March 3, 2014 6:00am-7:01am EST
>> this week on "q&a," bloomberg columnist and author virginia postrel discusses her book, "the power of glamour: longing and the art of visual persuasion." >> virginia postrel, author of "the power of glamour," in history, from your perspective, which political figure is the most glamorous? >> wow, that is a really hard question. alexander the great is a candidate. napoleon is a candidate. not just current figures, obviously, in history. thomas jefferson is somebody we remember as a glamorous figure. george washington in some ways, and, of course, in recent history, more recent history, president kennedy is somebody
associated with glamour. >> why would president kennedy be associated with glamour and someone like ronald reagan would not? >> i think ronald reagan was. somebody who was both glamorous and charismatic, which is fairly unusual in a politician, but the main reason he was not as glamorous as president kennedy is that he did not die. he took an assassin's bullet. it is part of what makes kennedy so glamorous, that we remember him as his life cut short and the potential that could have been, so he was glamorous in his day, because he represented rich, handsome guy, a naval war hero, and he had a wife, and he had children, but also in memory, he can take on whatever views you want, and i wrote about this.
the assassination. you have people who are hawkish neoconservatives who say if kennedy had lived, he would have done what i wanted. you have people who are former vietnam war protesters who said if kennedy had lived, he would have done what i wanted, and they have completely opposite views. there is always that potential. and then ronald reagan is another. he was older when he became president. and then we know how it came out. >> let me show you something from 1977 of senator john warner. we will show it and ask you about it. [video clip] >> a two time academy award winner accompanied by her husband john. elizabeth warner. ♪ [applause]
>> what do you see there? >> well, what i see is somebody who is sort of past her prime as a figure of hollywood glamour who is bringing that connection to washington. and it is interesting. elizabeth taylor is an interesting figure because she is one of the last movie stars of the studio era. she grew up in the studios, the hollywood studios, and she was also -- the nature of her glamour was different from, say, the nature of the glamour of a grace kelly or audrey hepburn or marilyn monroe.
glamour is something where the audience projects a meeting, something that they want, and elizabeth taylor some of represented being able to get away with anything, sort of being able to be beautiful, to have jewels, to have man. she could do all of those things that, say, somebody like grace kelly, who represented ladylike virtues would not have done it, so by the time she married john warner, she was older. she was no longer really a movie star. she occasionally appeared in something, but she was beginning the part of her career where she reinvented herself more as a civic figure, which later became her advocacy on behalf of aids causes, and that was a real turn from what had made her glamorous in the first place, but washington always likes a little hollywood glamour, and washington always likes a little politics and political glamour. >> how many years have you lived
there? >> well, that is an interesting question. i have lived there most of my adult life. i moved there in 1986. from 2000 to 2007, i was in dallas, but i came back. >> your husband? >> he teaches business strategy. global strategy, which is a big deal now, and he also teaches a course on health care. >> when we first met you, which was years ago, you were a magazine editor and a known intellectual, and my question is, how do you get from being an intellectual to authoring a book on the power of glamour? >> ok, i see the books -- it surprises people. i consider myself and intellectual in the classical tradition, which includes the modern libertarian life, but it also goes back to enlightenment, figures like david hume and alex smith, and they were interested
in politics. they were interested in economics. they were interested in all of those sorts of things, but they were also interested in the imagination, and especially the role of the imagination and what was an emerging commercial society, and i am interested in those things also. i am interested in how people create meaning for themselves, how the imagination drives ambition, how it drives the economy, and all these things are in "the power of glamour." >> i do not know if this is glamour so much, but in 2009, this happened on the floor of the house of representatives. >> a young man has left earth, and now in the stars, and this was a talented, multi talented person who entertained the world with his dynamic portrayals, the
songs he had written, with his style of dancing. >> icon to the floor today on behalf of a generation to thank god for letting all of us live in his generation and in his era, and with that, madam speaker, we would ask members to please stand for a moment of silence. [moment of silence] >> what is your reaction to that association? >> michael jackson was an incredibly popular entertainer, very talented, as they say, particularly as a dancer, but by the time that he died, i would say he had very little glamour. he was a celebrity, obviously, but we should back up to what i mean by glamour. what is glamour? glamour originally was a
scottish term which literally meant a magic spell that meant people saw things that were not there, and generally, an idea of someone better than what is actually there, and then over the centuries it took on other forms. but it always has this element of illusion and of being something, so what glamour -- it is like humor. it is a form of communication. there is an audience and something glamorous. it can be an idea. and the audience sees in whatever that glamorous object is something that represents their hopes and dreams, their longings, and it shows the idea of a different, better life, and that could be anything from if i had these shoes, i would look great, and people would love me,
and i would get dates, or i am michael jordan, depending on my shoes. i can move to washington and help change the world. or if i moved to new york, i could be fashionable, and i could be on "sex in the city," or something like that. so glamour that works come it conceals something. this idea of illusion, the difficulties, costs, distractions being hidden, so going back to michael jackson, probably he was a glamorous figure in the "thriller" era, at the height dominic king of pop, but by the time he died, he had become sort of a figure of ridicule at times, with his many plastic surgeries, and people
were saying that he was a child molester, and they thought behind the mystery, there is something terrible, and this is an element of glamour on the one hand and horror on the other. the everyday. but sometimes people think of mystery as something really terrible. there were the suspicions with michael jackson. when he died, even the circumstances of his death were really horrible, but when he died, people tended to focus then again on the good things. his talent, and try to forget the bad things. >> one of the things is jesse jackson junior, who is now -- or
he is on his way to prison, he and his wife, and one of the reasons was their attraction to glamour, fur coats, and michael jackson paraphernalia. >> it is also that idea of somebody being successful in the public eye, and being so beloved, and beloved across racial categories. somebody who was a little bit younger than him, because michael jackson is sort of closer to my age. it was this kind of -- especially at the height of his fame, he had a kind of glamour of a type of success that inspired a lot of fans. >> here is from 1979, ronald reagan, running for president. this is a fund raiser out in los angeles, where he lived, and --
>> fundraising, is this a technique that you hope will prove fruitful, techniques for a fundraiser? >> i do not think that is any of your business. [laughter] >> well, let me say one thing. it is a lot more fun. >> they're wrapped up in one piece is dean martin, frank sinatra, and his wife arbor, nancy reagan, and president reagan in california. how much do you think glamour played in getting him elected? >> an element for people of a certain age, there was a certain glamour.
the glamour of ronald reagan though had less to do with the hollywood group, per se, like whether it was the glamour of hollywood, but it did have something to do with skills and grace that he acquired as an actor, and so he looks like -- he made sort of being out there, fielding those questions, look effortless, which is an aspect of glamour, so people were more likely to support him politically, you see in him sort of the ideal candidate, the ideal representation of their views, because he did not make them embarrassed in any way. they were not waiting for him to fail. that became more of an issue. he had this style, a word that
comes from the 16th century about being a politician of the day, and this is this nonchalance of making difficult things look easy. everybody knows it is hard, and they appreciate it all the more, and reagan had that quality of making it look easy, which i think made him more glamorous as a politician, as well as into something that is important for an actor. talking about dean martin and frank sinatra, it is interesting about the rat pack. the rat pack were incredibly glamorous in the same era that john kennedy was president. it was the late 1950's early 1960's. they were the height of glamour. by the late 1970's, when ronald
reagan was running for president, the really were not terribly glamorous anymore. the style had moved on. trends had moved on. we had rock music, a very different type of music, and they harked back to a kind of glamour of their use. maybe that is not a good thing, but they were a little out of touch, and more recently, that sort of glamour has come back a little bit with a phenomenon, the las vegas rat pack, "ocean's 11," some of those types of movies, and it is more of a style, a counter to the very informal kind of culture that we have. the hairdressing, for example.
>> so, do you live a glamorous life in los angeles? >> no. first of all, your own life is never glamorous to you. you are never glamorous to yourself. you know yourself kilo well. you do not have that mystery. you do not have a grace, because you know what goes into it. they talk about their work. they know how hard it is to get ready for the oscars. that sort of stuff. so with my life is glamorous, it would be because somebody who lives in washington thinks, oh, that virginia postrel, out there in that 70 degree weather while we are freezing here, but they do not see my everyday life. >> what part of los angeles do you live in? >> about one mile south of ucla. i live a condo built in 1974,
not a very glamorous house. >> for a moment, there are a couple of things that are not glamorous about you that, one, we talked to you about this in 2006, and another is something you mentioned at the end of your book. at first though, you gave a kidney away. to sally. many do not remember sally, but this was from a show. >> and then, thank goodness, about one year ago, next week, in fact, a friend by the name of virginia who lives in a different city who i have always admired as a wonderful journalist and fine person, but i actually did not know her that well, but i mentioned to virginia that i was sick and needed a kidney, and a week later she sent me an e-mail that said in the subject line, serious offer, and in march of 2006, we had the surgery.
>> how are you both doing today? >> i am doing great. giving away a kidney has had no affect on my life once i healed from abdominal surgery, which is abdominal surgery. sally had a rough patch about one year ago, where she developed a form of pneumonia that is very serious that had to do with the antirejection drug, the same thing that kills a lot of aids patients, and they had to care for her for a very long time, but she is doing great now. i had dinner with her last night. i wrote about it at the time for texas monthly. and that is probably the best explanation fresh in my mind.
sally has no family, which is obviously who you normally turn to for a kidney donation. and i just had this feeling that somebody needed to help her. i do not have children depending on me. i have a variable work schedule. i am in excellent health. i come from a very large family, so should i need a kidney, i have a lot of people to hit up. so i found it -- and the other thing is, this is kind of ironic, but i had spent a lot of my time trying to do good, and i liked the idea of doing a good deed where you just do it. you do it, you show up, you go under, and you do not feel a thing, and you come out, you
recover, it is done. what i did not count on is that sally got very involved with trying to reform how kidneys get allocated, so i got a little bit sucked into working on those issues, about kidney policy, if you will, and we have made advances on that front, where people can sort of barter kidneys that are incompatible. but i am really glad that i did it. it seems very long ago and far away and really has no affect on my life today. >> should the government be involved in an issue like kidney transplants? >> well, the government is involved because there is a law that prohibits giving valuable consideration, the term of law,
for any organ, which means not only can you or your insurer or medicare not pay the kidney donor for the kidney, whether it is a deceased or a living donor, they cannot give them health insurance or give them a college scholarship or pay funeral expenses or even give them a cookie and a movie ticket, like you get for giving blood, and there is this huge, huge waiting list that keeps getting bigger and bigger. i have not checked regularly, but it is on the border of 60,000 people waiting for kidneys. >> you had breast cancer. >> yes. >> when did that happen? because i have not seen you in probably 10 years. >> in june -- june or july in the summer of 2007, i was diagnosed with breast cancer.
and when it was originally diagnosed, it looked like it was very minor. when i had the surgery, they discovered there was another area, and they caught this earlier, and my lymph nodes, that they would take out some, and it was that it turned out to be malignant, which was a pretty serious case, which was an early stage, but pretty serious, and what i talk about at the end of the knowledge meant is how my prognosis was so different from what it would have been before 1998, because there is a drug culture acceptance that works on this particular type of breast cancer, and chemotherapy is
poison. it kills fast-growing cells, including your hair and nails, and this is a drug that works by affecting certain receptors that are in tumors, with the science here, it has to do with the specific genetics of the cell, and roughly 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have this type, which is a very aggressive form, and this drug was developed on basic research. basic research was done at ucla, which is where i was treated, and was financed not by a traditional cancer charity or by the government.
it was financed by revlon, ron perlman and his foundation at revlon, with a series of celebrity and model-filled galas, the fire and ice balls, which some people might remember. there was a very glamorous advertising campaign for revlon lipstick and nail color called fire and ice, and the idea was you might be a housewife by day, but you are this sexy siren really in your mind, where this red lipstick conveys that. glamorous, and i talk about it in the book, so i say at the end of the book tom a the glamour of makeup and movie stars, because that is what financed this drug, and there is another drug for a different type of cancer, one of
two true miracle drugs that have been developed in cancer in recent decades. >> so you are good now? what i am good now. i am officially cured. my oncologist actually used the word "cured" which is a word they did not used to use. he said, if you get cancer, it will be a different version of what you had now. i had chemotherapy, but that really made a difference. >> back to the glamour, the power of glamour, and you have a couple of photographs in the book that we will show. this is the windblown jackie. >> a picture of jaclyn onassis crossing the street in new york.
it is the most famous sort of paparazzo photograph in history. you very rarely see the one on the left, which is before cropping, and what i use, i talk about this in the book, and grace is an element of glamour that hides all the difficulties, and when people sort of think of glamorous images, they usually think about that kind of grace been created by retouching, whether it is by photoshop or an earlier era with a negative, but i make the point that even with -- even a candid photo can draw its power from editing, from the way it is selected, and this is something where she was basically walking, and he caught her in this perfect moment, but to create that very powerful photo, he had to leave out the ugly pole and the wrinkled bottom of her pants, and get her
mona lisa smile and her perfectly imperfect hair, that sort of thing. >> there is another set of photos on the next page, of che guevara. what is the story there? >> this is a very famous photo. again, the one on the right is the famous photo. the one on the left is the original, and where he has been cropped, and also, if i had really done it well, i would have had the version that is on t-shirts, which is further abstracted into a single color sort of light and dark, and che was a revolutionary, murderous, brutal kind of figure, but particularly a cousin of his very evocative image and also because he died young and in circumstances that led his followers -- because he died
young, he became this iconic figure of sort of -- he had different meanings for different people. in cuba, he has a very specific meaning about the cuban revolution, but on an american college campus or walking down the street in l.a., somebody has on a che guevara t-shirt, it is using this sort of evocative glamour image to say something about, you know, very vague, about hope for a better world word anti-imperialism or chicano power. it can be anything, but he has this sort of residence on the left as a figure who represents revolutionary hope, if you will.
>> go back to the jackie photo. you quote though barbara leming. she wrote a biography on mrs. kennedy. i am going to read it because -- well, i will read it, and people can hear for themselves. like so much in her life, the aim of her personal style is concealment. a chemical straightener concealed the naturally kinky hair.
it sounds like she is not even close to how she was portrayed. >> this is the truth about glamour. glamour is an illusion that tells the truth about the audience desire. what do they want to see, and in order to maintain that power, things have to be hidden, but you have to also -- in order to be a glamorous figure, and, again, you do not have to be a person to be glamorous, but the fact that we did not know all of the work that went into creating this seemingly -- she looked effortlessly stylish. as she got older, i think there was probably less effort, and this is the description of her as her husband was becoming president on inauguration day, but a lot of work went into that seemingly effortless style.
a lot of calculation, and a lot of artifice, and that is the nature of glamour. it does not -- sometimes it arises spontaneously because the audience finds something glamorous that was not intended to be glamorous, but a lot of times, it is an outcome of a lot of hard work. >> we're are going back to 2010 now. what role does the association of the president of the united states and his wife have to do -- association with famous people like the kennedy center honors, and here is a clip from 2010. you will recognize everybody. [video clip] ♪ >> ♪ na na na na na na na na na na na hey, jude na na na na na na
hey, jude na na na na na na na na na na hey, jude na na na na na na na na na na na na hey, jude ♪ >> so there we have political washington deeply involved with glamour. >> i would say we have political washington deeply involved with celebrity and entertainment, and there are a lot of different forms of glamour going on there. the greatest glamour of that event comes from the exclusivity. two forms.
first of all, the idea of being honored and acclaimed in public for being really great at your job is a huge part of the glamour of things like the oscars, but there also, here it is not just your colleagues in the entertainment industry saying you are wonderful. it is the president of the united states, and on behalf of the american people. now, of course, if you are paul mccartney, you are sort of used to it, but for an audience watching that part of it -- the other thing is, would it not be great to be in that room? the people not just watching on television, but invited guest? what an exclusive crowd. being part of a special group, having exclusivity is very glamorous, and i think particularly for black
americans, the idea that the president is there, and he is part of that exclusive crowd, and he is not there as an entertainer. he is there as the president of the united states, is glamorous, and i have to talk about oprah a little bit, because in this context, she is a very glamorous figure, but in the book, i actually write about how her life was affected by an unintentional glamour, something that was not glamorous, which was that when she was a teenager, she found a tremendous amount of glamour in "the mary tyler moore show," and it was about embarrassing situations. mary richards had the worst parties. they were sort of figures of fun, but yet, to a teenager living in difficult
circumstances, somebody who is obviously very smart, seeing that world, that world of that camaraderie, interesting work, security, stylishness, the idea of tv news, that was very glamorous to her, and she directed her life, and she said, i wanted to be like mary. i want to have lou grant as my boss. and there is a wonderful video that you can see on youtube, where she re-created the opening sequence of "the mary tyler moore show," and she had injected herself into it and made it come true, so that was an interesting example of something that is not intentionally glamorous, but the glamour is in the eye of the
audience that changed somebody's life. >> greenville, south carolina, home town? >> yes. >> graduated from princeton. >> yes. >> work for the wall street journal for two years. >> yes, i did. >> and how many years as editor at the magazine? you are here talking about one of your books, and i asked about reason magazine, and one of the names on the board of directors is a name very much in the news. david côte. what has happened to reason since you were there? >> i really -- they are my friends. they had a happy hour for me the other night. i really do not have any inside information. i am very distant from that these days. i would say a big thing that has happened to reason magazine, the editorial staff, it has become much more web.
in 1995, i started the website of reason, which made us kind of a pioneer, and we actually got the dot com, and these days, there is still a print magazine who have subscribers. ann gillespie has developed an enormous website full of rich content, daily commentary, hourly commentary, as well, and also they have started reason tv, and they have lots of very interesting, well done videos. >> politics from hollywood and washington. jack valenti, who worked for lbj, turned out to be the head of the motion picture association for years, and then dan glickman was there for years, a former congressman from kansas, and now it is chris
dodd, a former senator from connecticut. here is mark leibovich. >> he told people he would not lobby, and now he is head of one of the most powerful lobbying groups in washington. chris dodd, this permanent class, a term that senator coburn uses, to typically describe the permanence of washington, the fact that people come here, and they almost always stay now. a lot of elected officials go on to become lobbyists, and frankly, life is very good inside the beltway. >> what do you see, living in los angeles, about this power connection? >> there are several things going on there. one is that, i would say from the point of view of glamour that washington has a sort of glamour that sucks people in originally. they may be interns when they
come, and they often stay, not because of the glamour necessarily but because of other things. there is a very strong connection. hollywood uses political clout to get what it wants, just the way other industries do, and the big thing that is very controversial today, and i am concerned with from a point of view, the incident of session with copyright, which actually affected this book when i was trying to source the photos. hollywood said we need to have extended copyrights so mickey mouse will not go into the public domain. never mind that the trademarks are also a concern, but this loss of our cultural heritage for much longer than it was ever
intended to do, it locks up works that were created under very different copyright rules, much shorter copyrights, and those were adequate incentives at the time. i am not against copyright. i am not against intellectual property, but i think it is a balancing act. >> which photo in the book did you have the toughest time getting question my >> when i say copyrights were a problem, it is more about those i did not get. for example, i really went in to show some screenshots from a 1930's film of joan crawford and clark gable called "pizzazz", but simon and schuster would not have liked it, and i could not get it, because they would never release the scenes -- the scenes i wanted were never released as publicity photos. i have a photo that i license from a stock house from the movie, but it is not the photo i
wanted. i had difficulty and a fair amount of expense getting the photographs of grace kelly that was originally on the cover of "collier's." >> very young? what she is coming out of the water. it was ironic to me -- there was a lot of information of how it was constructed. it was taken before i was born of an actress who is dead by a photographer who is dead, and yet, it was still not available for reproduction. now, there are photos in the book which are wonderful, advertising images that are in the public domain, and there were photos i could not get for reasons that had nothing to do with copyright. >> we found a video from 1940, a movie called "broadway melody," and there is a political
connection. senator george murphy was a song and dance man, and here is what it looked like. he is dancing with eleanor powell, by the way. [video clip] ♪ >> he was elected back in 1964 and salinger was press secretary to jfk. he had been appointed, the senator before that, and here is where he started his career, and he ended up on the floor of the u.s. senate, and at the time, he was the first one to use an electronic voice box on the floor of the senate because he could not talk. his voice box, he had some trouble with it, so did you ever know the story of him?
>> i did not. i was sort of vaguely aware that he had been an actor and had been in hollywood and had been in the senate, but i did not know his story much. the classic musicals of the 1930's and 1940's -- it would make sense in a way that somebody could become well-known and beloved and a political figure from that because they were very popular and very glamorous and very -- not only in this country, but i talk about research on british women's memories of going to the movies, particularly during the war, and this idea of taking you out of your everyday life and taking you to someplace wonderful, which was, in their case, not only the song and dance but also divisions of america, with refrigerators, things they did not have that even an average american might
>> that is in the middle of the campaign. >> yes, that is interesting, and i have not watched that since about 1992 or 1993, because i do not normally think of bill clinton as a glamorous figure, and we can talk about that more. i think of him as a charismatic figure, a highly charismatic figure, and that is different, but, yes, i would say there is a lot of glamour going on, and first of all, he has got sunglasses on, and sunglasses is one of the best way. >> why? >> well, it is mostly because they create mystery. you are not completely hidden. you can still see your face, but there is that sort of mystery and distance, and we talk about jackie and her sunglasses, and he is very graceful. and the other thing which is nowadays hard to remember is how young he seem in 1992 in a positive way. he did not seem young as in not ready for president. i read never talking to my sister-in-law who was a big fan
of the clinton-gore team, and it was great to vote for them because you felt the young people had arrived, and this moment has that kind of -- oh, would it not be great if the president were in sync with popular culture, and i think particularly for a younger audience, the idea that he did this was very glamorous. >> recently, we did a series on all the first ladies of the united states, and we had an artist to a portrait, and you see it on your screen. there in the portrait is, obviously, mrs. obama, nancy reagan, jackie kennedy, and martha washington. what do you think? glamour? is there glamour? what well, of those four, the only one i would call glamorous is jackie kennedy. the other ones have other things going for them. one of the things that is interesting about the obamas,
particularly in 2008, was that he was the one who was glamorous. mrs. obama, and i have had this conversation with many people, mrs. obama is very stylish, but her appeal is that she is an extraordinary version of an ordinary person, so she is, like, i would not call girl next-door glamour, because she is more extraordinary than that, but it is friendlier. she does not have that distance that is important to have for glamour. >> tonight that barack obama won the presidency back in 2008, and they are on the stage in chicago. go ahead and run it, and we will talk about what you see in this. that was the beginning, and we now have had over five years of the presidency. [video clip] and as you say, she is not glamorous. >> i think it is important when you talk about the 2008 campaign. a glamorous politician is very
unusual because glamour requires mystery and distance. it requires the kind of frankness and the populist touch and all of the sort of thing that usually go along with it, and barack obama in 2008 was very different. glamour is in the eye -- glamour presents a sense of longing, and for his supporters, they projected onto him whatever their hopes and dreams were. their dreams for the country, their dreams for a president, what he wanted, and the fact that he had a relatively short public record but a very compelling sort of life story, and people could project onto him what they wanted. the same thing with reagan and some of these other people, kennedy, and so -- and even if you look at the famous poster of obama or the logo of the road
going into the distance, that would be sort of glamorous iconography, taking you from the current to something more wonderful. the problem is, when you get a letter it, glamour on those rare occasions that politics have, when you get elected, it can be very disillusioning for your supporters because they have projected onto you either in things or contradictory things, so people imagine that -- they imagine all different political positions that he would do as president, and they imagine that somehow he would he bring harmony and peace to the world. there would be no more political conflict area there would be no more racial conflict. there would be no more -- foreign affairs. utopian dreams. it is very hard for anyone to live up to that, that in 2008,
extraordinary, i quoted his friend that barack obama is a rorschach test. there was also swirling around him and continuing to swirl around him, and he is not just a left-leaning democrat with a bent for health care. born in kenya. because that mystery must be hiding something terrible as opposed to hiding something not good or ordinary or things i disagree with.
>> one last video clip, and you are going to see chris matthews, who used to work for jimmy carter and wrote for tip o'neill, and you're going to see who used to be the producer of larry king, and she had a party, and you see area huffington, who used to be married to a congressperson out in california, and they had a party or her book. tell me what you see in this. [video clip] >> how are you? >> she was doing all of this stuff, and you were not even noticing. >> the lifestyle. >> thank you very much.
>> beckoning. they want you both over here. >> to get something to look at. come on. >> over there. >> arianna huffington, and she was on your show today, so tell us what you think of it, and how do you think she is doing on the book tour? >> i think the standard for doing everyday or every thing that is happening, truly, you are a model for a way to be. >> and speaking of that, area huffington used to be a conservative, very close to newt gingrich, and now she is on the other side with huffington post. what do you think? >> arianna is a very glamorous figure. she has that sense of effortlessness, even though she obviously works incredibly hard, and some of that calculation
like what we were discussing with mrs. kennedy, i am sure arianna is thinking about all of those kinds of things herself. then she shows up at a panel, she makes it look easy. she even makes conquering the web look easy. as a hostess, she has all of that, making things look easy. the other thing is that, of course, this is, again, a very exclusive gathering. it is hard to get invited to a party like that, and then, of course, there is the irony that the book is called third world america, and these are all incredibly rich people with incredible amounts of social capital, as well. they have all of the right connections, whether it is media or politics, that sort of thing, so it is a very elite group.
there is nothing populist about that picture. >> this photo is not in your book, but i want you to tell us if it is glamour. elvis and richard nixon. this is the best selling item at the nixon library. >> humor. there are a lot of funny things going on there. it is richard nixon, sort of the antithesis of glamour throughout his career, and because he is slightly awkward and introverted and also because he was more of a represent the silent majority, speaking for the common people. he was not mysterious like kennedy, and then elvis, like michael jackson, was glamorous earlier in his career, but by this period, he has kind of gotten into the fat and drug using elvis, and of course what
is funny about the whole nixon-elvis encounter is that elvis is a drug using sort of decadent figure who is selling himself in this situation as a figure of rectitude, and elvis is a complicated figure. he had a lot of different elements to his personality, and he is another person who either time he died had sort of lost a lot of glamour, although he still had an enormous fan base. this is the even more famous photograph, i think, but he was appreciated by people in the latter part of his life by those maybe who would have scorned him, and second, people remember the younger elvis as opposed to the more decadent, older one. >> in an interview, i think it would have been the interview
with nick gillespie, where he called you an early pioneering blogger. do you still write your blog? >> not really. i still have my blog, and i occasionally write on it, but i have not written regularly the way i did. i started blogging in late december 2000 and didn't quite regularly for several years. >> and you write for bloomberg now. >> i write for bloomberg view, which is the opinion and analysis action of bloomberg. if you go to bloomberg.com and click on opinion, you get to our section. there are a number of bloggers, including a colleague of mine from the atlantic previously. >> one last question.
looking at this town from hollywood, from los angeles, where you live, what is different now from when you first got involved writing about it? >> well, this is all very cliché. it is nastier and more ritualized. thinking about the policy side of things, when i first got involved in policy, thinking about it, in the late 1970's, it was where people were really trying to find solutions and think about policy in new ways, and it was sort of good ideas, and this has become much more a red team and blue team than it once was. there are reasons for that, and i do not know that they are
reversible, but it makes it less interest in. >> this book is called "the power of glamour." you have just started on your road trip with this. what is next? another book? >> not yet. i will continue to do this and write for the bloomberg view and other outlets. >> virginia postrel has been our guest, and this is the book, "the power of glamour: longing and the art of visual persuasion." and there is politics. thank you very >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> for free transcripts, or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. "q&a" are also available as c-span podcasts.
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